REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Progress on Shillapoo
Projects: It has been a busy summer and fall for Assistant Manager
Hauswald and technicians Boylan and Ridenour. Field mowing conducted to maintain
Canada Goose winter habitat is nearing completion. Wetland basins have also
been either mowed or disced to prepare them for wintering birds and as part
of a program to control reed canary grass and reestablish native plants. We
have also been contracting labor crews from the Larch Mt. correction facility
to remove large thickets of blackberry along Lower River Road and Lake River
to make way for future enhancement work. We are also working on replacing fencing
in some locations along Lower River Road. As the fences are replaced they will
be moved back from the edge of the roadway. This is being done because the fences
were essentially on the edge of the pavement and were often clipped by passing
vehicles on the narrow road. Moving the fences back should also allow for some
limited shoulder parking in a few areas providing some relief when parking areas
overflow particularly in the spring during popular fishing seasons.
Western Pond Turtle: This seasons field activities are coming to an end as we have collected
56 juvenile turtles through the head start program. Drought conditions are believed
to be a factor in the success of several nests.
We are currently working
with the Bonneville Power Administration to determine if funding will be available
for fiscal 2007. Current indications are that this will be the final year of
BPA funding and funding levels will be reduced from past years.
Bald Eagle Management: WDFW received a draft bald eagle management plan for the Columbia Gateway project
that is being proposed by the Port of Vancouver. The bald eagle plan is directly
tied to a broader mitigation plan that is being negotiated between WDFW, private
conservation groups and the Port.
Region 5 Deer Herd
Composition Surveys: Black-tail and mule deer herd composition surveys
have been completed in Region 5. The surveys are conducted annually during the
period beginning August 15 and continuing through September 30th. These data
are used to estimate the annual ratio of fawns to does throughout the Region.
This productivity data is then used as one of the inputs into the Region's Sex
- Age - Kill method of population estimation.
Wildlife Program Staff along
with volunteers actively conduct surveys as well as documenting any deer seen
during other work (or play) activities during this time period. Please submit
records of any deer observations that may have been made to Biologist Holman,
at the Region 5 office. Summaries of this year's effort will be included in
future reports. Thanks to all those that helped out with the deer surveys, especially
the members of the Yacolt Burn Sportsman's Club.
Pheasant Opener: Acting Program Manager Calkins and Technician Boylan surveyed the usage levels
at the Woodland Bottoms and Shillapoo release sites on opening day of the Western
Washington Pheasant season. Car counts are used as an index of hunter numbers
that are evaluated to determine the future allocation of birds between the sites.
Boylan tallied a total of 129 cars at Shillapoo 76 of which were at the South
Unit and 53 at the Vancouver Lake unit. Boylan heard complaints from a few hunters
that others had started hunting a few minutes early which is a common complaint
at Pheasant release sites. Calkins found 23 cars at the Woodland Bottoms site.
At this location birds could be seen walking through the fields as the hunters
worked the brush lines. Also, cattle were present on part of the site and we
recommend that hunters avoid the cattle pasture area until the herd is removed.
Two hunters in this area had their hunt disrupted when their dog became interested
in the cows two of which chased the dog off.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
Wildllife: Flocks of Sandhill Cranes using the wildlife area have now
been joined by Canada Geese beginning to arrive in large numbers. Widgeon and
Shovelers have been spotted in the area indicating that migrating ducks are
begining to arrive from the North. Those seeking to view the birds should be
aware that the upland bird season is open and they are advised to wear blaze
orange clothing as is required for hunters.
League Presentation: Acting Program Manager Calkins spoke to the Vancouver
Wildlife League on October 4th. Topics discussed included changes to deer hunting
seasons particularly in the Glenwood and Battle Ground game management units;
Hunter access program legislation the agency is proposing to the legislature
and ongoing management programs in the Shillapoo Wildlife Area. Several of the
group members are not pleased with the changes in the Battle Ground unit and
concern was also voiced toward the new firearm restriction in the Trout Lake
area and separation of the Deer and Elk muzzleloader seasons in the West Klickitat
" Dusky" goose test was administered in Longview and 24 people
attended to take the test.
SW Washington Goose
Test: The " Dusky" goose test was administered in Longview
and 24 people attended to take the test. One father/son team was disappointed
to learn that the process involved home study and viewing a video before taking
the test. The process for hunting geese in Zone 2a and 2b is outlined on pages
11 and 12 of the 2006-07 Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasons. All hunters
must complete the test and have permit in hand before hunting in these zones.
Permit holders from 2005 that did not get their permit invalidated will receive
a permit in the mail. This hunt program has reduced the harvest of the Dusky
Canada goose and permitted liberal harvest of other goose sub species.
REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS
young hunter with his buck.
Deer Opening Weekend: District Biologists Miller and Anderson
and Acting Wildlife Area Manager Van Lueven contacted hunters on the Wildlife
Area to insure that people were aware of the regulation change and the fire
restriction. 143 hunters were contacted and all were aware of the regulation
change, thanks to a great effort by the District 9 staff , local newspapers
and Olympia/Vancouver staff help. Only one hunter was unhappy with the new regs.
Three bucks and one doe were checked during the weekend - a low harvest rate.
It will take a year or two of the new regulations to see the improvement in
buck numbers and harvest is weighed heavily on resident animals during opening
weekend. Of the deer examined, three were yearlings and one was 2.5 years old
when harvested. The number of 3 point bucks available to hunters will likely
increase as deer from nearby areas migrate to the Wildlife Area.
Ridgefield Birdfest: District Biologist Anderson and Acting Program Manager Calkins staffed the WDFW
booth at the Ridgefield Birdfest event on Saturday and Sunday. The event highlights
the importance of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and Wildlife to the
community. Anderson and Calkins fielded questions on a wide variety of topics.
Yacolt Check Station: Biologist Holman and Volunteers Lisa Renan and John Arnold representing Eyes
In The Woods staffed a check station near Yacolt. A total of 727 hunter checks
were made with 12 bucks being checked. Overall Deer harvest for opening weekend
appears to be down due to very dry conditions on Saturday which turned to extremely
wet conditions on Sunday.
Dead Bird Responses: Biologist Holman responded to two reports of dead waterfowl in the Vancouver
Area. These included one call about a mallard near the Vancouver Mall and the
other was a report of dead goose on Vancouver Lake. The birds were collected
and will be submitted to the USFWS lab to determine the cause of death which
includes testing for avian influenza viruses.
WDFW biologist Woodin tracking the flight and entering data into a laptop
computer during one of the flights.
Surveys: Regional Wildlife Staff conducted aerial elk composition surveys
over the Siouxon (572), Yale (554), Toutle (556) and Margaret (524) Game Management
Units on the 5th and 6th of September. The Ryderwood (530) and Coweeman (550)
Game Management Units were surveyed later after the early archery season. Weather
conditions were generally suitable with limited fog and calm - moderate winds
during the three survey flights except during the Ryderwood flight when extremely
warm conditions may have resulted in fewer total elk seen which can be expected
as the elk keep to forested habitat once the sun rises.
Results of these surveys
will be included with additional data and used as a portion of the inputs into
the Region's Sex - Age -Kill model of elk population estimation. Results of
the surveys are as follows:
bulls / 20 calves per 100 cow elk
Bulls / 26 calves per 100 cow elk
Bulls / 33 calves per 100 cow elk
bulls/ 26 calves per 100 cows
bulls/ 41 calves per 100 cows
bulls/ 53 calves per 100 cows